PGU is counting down our 25 greatest Wildcats of all time. To see the honorable mention and how the rankings are formulated, click here.
#25: Hassan Adams (35.08)
#24: Sean Rooks (35.29)
#23: Anthony Cook (35.74)
#22: Al Fleming (37.31)
#21: Chase Budinger (37.52)
#20: Loren Woods (37.57)
#19: Michael Wright (37.85)
#18: Jud Buechler (38.07)
#17: Salim Stoudamire (39.15)
#16: Derrick Williams (40.31)
#15: Bob Elliott (41.86)
Time as a Wildcat
While younger fans may know him better for his television work, Bob Elliott was perhaps the player who first established the Arizona brand. From 1973 to 1977, he put together an impressive career that elevated the program to unprecedented heights.
Elliott’s freshman season also happened to be the inaugural year of the McKale Center and quickly made a name for himself, and the building, on the west coast. Against ASU, he scored a remarkable 38 points, the second highest point total in an individual game by a freshman in school history. In that same game, the 6’9 forward tallied 25 rebounds.
One can only imagine the nightmares Sun Devils fans had later that night, knowing they would have to face Elliott for three more years.
The Ann Arbor native continued to put up ridiculous stats in sophomore season, such as when he made 12 field goals in a single half against Utah. But like the season before and the 23 before that, Arizona failed to make the NCAA Tournament. The 25 year old streak would end the next year, however.
As a junior, Elliott took a more commanding role. He played in every game and attempted a team high 225 shots. That might have upset head coach Fred Snowden if 55% hadn’t fallen through the nets.
Arizona won the 1976 WAC championship, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Cats went on to beat heavy favorite Georgetown, followed by a dramatic 114-109 win against UNLV that officially marked the program’s arrival nationally. A loss to UCLA in the Elite Eight was a humbling defeat but behind Elliott, Arizona had finally made itself relevant in basketball. (Months later, the baseball program would win the school’s first ever national championship).
In Elliott’s final year, he battled through some injuries and only played in 26 total games. Arizona made the tournament once again but lost to Southern Illinois in the opening round. Elliott left the school with a career 18.6 scoring average.
Career After Arizona
Thanks to a spectacular college career, Elliott was the 42nd pick in the 1977 Draft, selected by the Philadelphia 76ers. He made his NBA debut with the New Jersey Nets the next year and had a respectable season, scoring nearly nine points per game.
Elliott played three seasons with the Nets until a bad knee forced him into retirement.
When people think of Arizona basketball, Bob Elliott usually does not immediately come to mind. However, he was arguably as influential as anyone player to ever put on a Cats jersey.
He can be found all over the school record books and if not for another Elliott, he would be the all-time leading scorer. He is also second in career rebounds and tied for fourth in scoring average.